UCC, which is taking part in the World Economic Forum initiative, found that transport, built environment and energy are Cork’s biggest emitters.
Cork has been selected as the first city in Ireland to take part in the Net Zero Carbon programme.
An initiative from the World Economic Forum in collaboration with Accenture, the programme targets key cities around the world and aims to accelerate their journey towards net-zero carbon emissions.
“Cities represent the biggest challenge and the biggest opportunity to tackle climate change as we know that cities consume 78pc of the world’s primary energy and generate more than 70pc of global carbon emissions,” Accenture Ireland sustainability lead Niamh O’Gorman.
18 organisations from Cork – including AIB, Cork City Council, ESB, Gas Networks Ireland, Musgrave and University College Cork (UCC) – were convened by Accenture to develop long-term ways to bring the city closer to net-zero.
“The Cork pilot saw leading companies and public sector representatives come together quickly to determine the opportunities for Cork city and, importantly, begin identifying the solutions to reduce emissions,” O’Gorman added.
UCC research found that the top three drivers of emissions in Cork city are transport, built environment and energy.
Local transport contributes around 31pc of Cork’s emissions, UCC data showed, while built environment accounts for around 27pc of the city’s emissions – split across domestic and commercial building energy use. Meanwhile, power and energy infrastructure in Cork city constitutes 36pc of local emissions.
“The urgency of the climate crisis demands immediate action in order to turn ambition into progress,” said Accenture Ireland strategy lead Karen O’Regan, who also leads Accenture’s work with the World Economic Forum.
“Cork has a wonderful opportunity now to lead in the transition to net-zero, generating a positive impact for the people, communities and businesses in the city.”
The participating organisations now aim to continue to drive the Net Zero Carbon initiative and find ways to decarbonise Cork by curbing emissions across the three biggest emission sources through public-private partnerships.
“This initiative is timely with Cork having also been selected among the pioneer participants in the European Commission’s Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities Mission to navigate and accelerate the local journey to transition ahead of current targets,” added O’Gorman.
10 things you need to know direct to your inbox every weekday. Sign up for the Daily Brief, Silicon Republic’s digest of essential sci-tech news.